tui la

Avatar The Last Airbender - Koi Fish Spirits - “Tui & La” [in Chinese:
推 & 拉. Tui means: Push. - La means: Pull.]


History
Thousands of years before the Hundred Year War, Tui and La decided to manifest themselves in the physical world to benefit mankind, taking up residence in an alcove in the Northern Water Tribe’s capital city. They created the oasis in the North Pole and took the form of two koi fish. Thus the Spirit Oasis in the city became its most treasured landmark.

  • <p> <b>dentist:</b> open up<p/><b>me:</b> well...okay. so not only does the narrative of Avatar: the Last Airbender continuously circle around themes of harmony and unity and balance, there are multiple examples throughout the show that support the idea of two opposites coming together to complement each other and ultimately bring balance to the world. Tui and La, Oma and Shu, the various parallels between Zuko's journey with his fatherlord vs. Zuko's journey with his uncle, the foils of Azula and Zuko's siblingship to Katara and Sokka's... not to mention the entire journey of the Avatar is all about bringing harmony and balance to the world. All these things considered, the importance and thematic possibility that a relationship between the last Southern Waterbender and the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, each from wildly different upbringings (their relationship with their fathers) but still with similarities that bring about a sense of complete and absolute understanding (the loss of their mothers) would have not only completed the show's purpose of showing how two things, in this case two young people caught up in a war and each struggling with their own personal journeys, can ultimately come together to not only thrive (their complemented fighting styles) but also grow in drastic ways that serve to bring about maturity, kindness, selflessness, forgiveness and, as we see in the finale, unfaltering, devoted, unconditional love. The two of them, red and blue, fire and water, sun and moon, yin and yang, end up having a deeper connection and understanding of the other, and that is apparent in the way they tackle problems together, both offering their entire help to each other as a consequence of this absolute understanding (Zuko helping Katara find closure concerning her mother and Katara offering Zuko help when he's ashamed to see his uncle again). This also gives them complete acceptance of the other, as we see in Zuko's immediate acceptance of Katara as a bloodbender, and Katara as the only person that has been allowed to touch his scar. Their relationship development, which is a lot deeper than a simple enemies to friends to lovers trope (though that appeals to many) shows us how two people can fulfill that balance completely and wholly. Add to that the fact that Zutara was not canon and you are left with a tragic "almost" story that leaves you with very real feelings of regret and sorrow because of the way that this couple, canonically could have brought the war torn nations the same balance and peace with their devoted actions and that the people would see, through their example, that harmony was not only possible, it was beautiful and productive, and healthy. The possibilities that would be brought about by having these two characters come together would have not only opened up a world of important themes and the discussion of acceptance and love and the welcoming of differences, but it would have also allowed for a full blown exploration and self fulfilling of the show's thematic desires. Of balance. Of harmony. Of peace. Do you see what I mean??<p/><b>dentist:</b> you have five cavities<p/></p>

“Because nothing is ever Black and White”

Sure, this is Tui and La without a doubt. It was made very clear in the show that these two spirits work in harmony to benefact mankind and represent the yin and yang energy in careful balance.

As a recent Zutara convert, though, I see the balance between the two individuals: ‘You rise with the moon. I rise with the sun.’
-Zuko

The firebending prince and his culture rely on the sun as the source of their power. They experience their strongest bending during the day, and thus represent the lighter koi.

Waterbending culture depend on the moon, a guardian of the night. Katara had many scenes highlighting her immense power at night. Therefore I see her as the darker koi.

Zuko and Katara balance each other well. Fire and water. Hot headed and level headed. Welcoming and guarded. They would make a dynamic couple that is stronger together than apart.

I tried to color each fish not strictly black and white grayscale, because nothing is ever truly one or the other. I tried to make each fish hint at thr character I had in mind. For the lighter fish representing Zuko, I tried to make it yellow/orange. And for the darker fish I wanted to show that is more deep blue than strictly black for our beloved waterbender.

Painted this digitally in about 4 hours when I should have been doing lab work. Relatively happy with it.

ZUTARA IS REAL

Okay so even if you don’t ship it, what I am about to say will be undeniably true.

First and foremost, katara treats everyone, EVERYONE in the group like a child that she mothers EXCEPT for Zuko.

When they were on ember island at the play, the phrase ‘avatar’s girl’ is spoken on stage and Aang nods proudly like he owns Katara, it’s possessive. When Katara tells him she needs time to think, because she doesn’t know what she wants, instead of respecting her wishes Aang kisses her out of no where because he thinks it’s his rite.

When Katara and Zuko go to see the southern raiders, he watches her blood bend a man without batting an eye. He doesn’t judge her when she can’t kill the murderer either, and after on the dock she basically ignores Aang and jumps into Zuko’s arms for a real affectionate hug.

When she hugs Aang it’s always rather hesitantly as if she is hugging a close friend, not a lover. When he goes into the avatar state after aapa is stolen, she hugs him because he needed it.

Her and Zuko have a hateful relationship up until the point of the cave in ba sing se, where she finally realizes he is hurting just as much as she is. She is even allowed to touch his scar which no one has done so far in the series. Even as she leaves with Aang, her eyes travel back to Zuko. Her heart breaks when she sees him fighting along side Azula, and that is why she is so guarded when he finally makes the right desicion and tries to join up. She doesn’t want to be hurt again because she has genuine affection for him.

When she meets Aang in the iceberg, he is just a goofy kid who likes to laugh. Once she realizes he is the avatar things change and the friendship begins. They travel the world together and become life long friends, but no where in any of the episodes does it show true attraction. Even in the cave of two lovers it was just coincidence that they got stick together, and even then Katara is only blushing awkwardly because it’s a first kiss, plus she only offered as an escape from the cave. When they first kiss on the invasion day it was almost an instinctual reaction. Aang didn’t know if he was going to die, and katara didn’t know if she’s ever see him again so they shared a special moment ‘just in case’ but that was it.

This show is all about balance, ying and yang, tui and la, light and dark, fire and water. Everything leading up to the final agni kai was all supposed to end differently. How Zuko attacked katara village and her multiple times. How he saved Aang as the blue spirit and freed aapa. How he betrayed her again at ba sing se and almost killed Aang, only to save them all from combustion man 'who he hired.’ How he helped her grieve her mother’s death in a way that no one else in the group could. Finally when he is beating Azula and sees blue sparks head towards katara, all that he has worked for, his honor, his throne, his nation, his life. He was willing to give all that up as he dove in front of the lightning. Yes he was trying to redirect it, but being in the air he was not grounded, and could have easily died. And in the end when he finally sees her face all he can say is 'thank you’ because for a moment he hasn’t decided if he is dead or not and if he is he is grateful that the first face he sees is her. And she should have pulled him into a hug before kissing him, and then she would fumble around awkwardly until she felt him brush her cheek, and pull her in for a slow warm kiss. They would have achieved balance, yin and yang, anger and kindness, introvert and extrovert, guarded and stoic vs open and cheerful, light and dark, fire and water.

To her Aang will always be that goofy kid in the iceberg, and maybe she does love him but it would be a fist love. The kind you get when you are 14 and meet a strange boy who isn’t from the tribe you have lived in your whole life and offers to take you away from your home to see the world. A love that never had any conflict, no hate and arguments or bad thoughts, the love of a perfect friend.

Then you have the love that has grown and molded and been shaped by both of your hand as both you and he seek redemption. Zuko was the enemy and everything she hated about the fire nation. In her eyes he was the reason her mother had to die, for people like him and then he redeems himself and she starts to feel her heart pulled to him by some unknown force, until she is touching his face in an affectionate way. And then all at once the tug is broken by and flash of lightning and she has to save the day, but as she flew away the tug may be gone but she can still feel the sensation in your heart. She hates him so much it feels like she could fire bend herself and then he’s there. All at once as he was standing before her she felt the tug again and quickly had to cut it herself, refusing to believe that he had changed. And then he gave her peace and all at once she stopped fighting it and let the tug pull her straight into his arms on the dock. And as she say him dive in front of lightning for her her heart stopped and didn’t beat until he was thanking her, and she pulled him into a kiss and the world finally found balance in 100 years.

Even going past the last air bender to legend of korra, we see that Aang favors his only air bending son Tenzin for his own selfish reasons, and when Zuko in all of his flaws and short comings hears that Izumi may be in trouble his first and only thought is to be by his daughters side to protect her. Loyalty vs selfish gains. You can argue that Aang would be excited to finally be the person who restarts the air benders so to speak, but at the sake of making your other children feel neglected just doesn’t seem like a fair trade.

Even if you don’t ship it, the show was originally supposed to end in zutara, and literally the ONLY reason they changed it, was because the “hero” should get the girl. They missed out on such a great opportunity to make it something completely different than any other story, and place the two that actually ment something together. But instead they gave Aang his 'prize’ which again, possessive.

The legends say the moon was the first waterbender. Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves. Our strength comes from the Spirit of the Moon; our life comes from the Spirit of the Ocean. They work together to keep balance

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This is my homage to the original benders (during the Era of the Avatar, of course since during the Era of Raava people would request bending abilities from the lion turtles). I always loved the fact that people learned bending from animals, since I know first-hand how much people can learn from observing animals. This is a project I’ve wanted to do for so long and is hopefully the first of many!

Now that it’s FINALLY healed, here’s the finished product! I have been waiting for this for an entire year and I am so so SO happy with how it turned out! 10 years ago I fell in love with Avatar and I figured this would be an awesome way to show my appreciation for bryankonietzko and michaeldantedimartino for creating this entire universe that I can indulge myself in. And a big thank you to Tanya for drawing up the original concept and Amy for the tattoo! Both of you ladies kick ass!

anonymous asked:

so... back to this series again... what would young children and other viewers in general of ATLA have learned from a zutara relationship in place of a K@taang and m@iko?

One of the reasons Zutara is a superior narrative to the canon ships is that it supports the preexisting messages in the show, as opposed to creating a new message that contradicts previously established themes. Here are a few ways Zutara strengthens and reinforces the show’s messages:

1. Balance. Avatar the Last Airbender is all about balance. The people of the Four Nations have strengths and weaknesses that play off each other in a beautiful counterpoint in the Avatar world. 

Koh: Tui and La, your Moon and Ocean, have always circled each other in an eternal dance. They balance each other… push and pull… life and death… good and evil… yin… and yang.

Zuko: You rise with the moon. I rise with the sun.

Aαng and Katara don’t have a balanced relationship. On Aαng’s side, the relationship is one-sided because he pines for her while never allowing Katara to know how he feels. On Katara’s side, the relationship is one-sided because Katara spends much more time and energy catering to Aαng’s emotional needs than Aαng spends catering to Katara’s. 

But in order to have balance, you must first have …

2. Equality.

As Katara grows in her waterbending abilities, she is shown to be more and more Zuko’s bending equal. Zuko and Katara have comparable amounts of drive and determination, a moral code that gets challenged as they go through their journeys, and are two of the most developed characters in A:TLA. 

Mαi and Zuko are completely unequal in terms of characterization.  Mαi never goes through a redemption arc, realizes she was wrong about the Fire Nation, or treats the people around her any better at the end of the show than she did at the beginning. And it should be noted that unlike with their canon love interests, Zuko and Katara spend about equal amounts of time in the show being “in the wrong” or “in the right” when it comes to their interactions. In Mαiko, Zuko is always the one to blame, and in Aαng always gets irritated when Katara refuses to follow the wisdom of the monks.

3. Redemption. A large part of the show focuses on redemption–not just of Zuko, but of the Fire Nation as a whole. Things that went terribly wrong in the past can be rectified. Relationships that failed in the past can be restored. This is the point of the Avatar Roku/Firelord Sozin dynamic that foreshadowed Zuko and Aαng. If the “Cave of Two Lovers” had foreshadowed Zutara as it was likely intended to early on, it would have carried this message through flawlessly.

So it always baffles me when canon shippers make the argument that Zutara shouldn’t happen because of the Crossroads of Destiny, or because he captured her in the past. Zuko did far worse things to Aαng than he ever did to Katara, and yet the former end up best friends. And Katara gets, not a redemption arc, but a forgiveness arc with Zuko, where she lets go of her hatred that has been poisoning her ever since she was little. With Mαiko, not only does Mαi herself never get fully redeemed; Zuko going back to Mαi at the end of the show means going back to a superficial relationship based on attraction and gift-giving, rather than substantial principles in common. It’s jarring to see next to the rest of his peerless character path. 

4. Freedom of destiny. 


Aαng: You didn’t really see love in my fortune, did you? You just told me what I wanted to hear.
Aunt Wu: I’ll tell you a little secret, young Airbender. Just as you reshaped those clouds, you have the power to reshape your own destiny.

Iroh: You know, Prince Zuko, destiny is a funny thing. You never know how things are going to work out. But if you keep an open mind and an open heart, I promise you will find your own destiny someday.

Sokka: What about us? [Meaning Sokka, Toph, and Suki] What’s  our destiny today?
Iroh: What do you think it is?

Aunt Wu: I feel great romance for you. The man you’re going to marry… Katara: Tell me more!
Aunt Wu: I can see that he is a very powerful bender. 

[later in the episode]

 Sokka: Man, sometimes I forget what powerful bender (Katara’s expression instantly changes at this, remembering Aunt Wu’s words) that kid is.
Katara: Wait, what did you just say?
Sokka: Nothing, just that Aαng is one powerful bender.
Katara: I suppose he is…

One of these things is not like the others. And the only reason to disturb the ongoing A:TLA lesson of choosing your own destiny, is for Kαtααng to happen at the end of the show. 

It also doesn’t help that the canon ships BOTH have hints of the endgame pairings when at least one of the people is still very much a child.

These characters are too young to be dating! They do not have the mental and emotional wherewithal to choose their romantic destiny when they haven’t even started adolescence. Freedom of choice is an essential theme of the Avatar world; it’s just a pity the romance gets so little of it.

bryke ruined what could’ve been the greatest canon ship and that still makes me so angry. 

they have seen the worst in each other and accepted it. they trusted each other. they complimented each other. they respected each other. they didn’t put each other on a pedestal because they already knew neither one is perfect. they’re literally the physical embodiment of what the show had been metaphorically insinuating for 3 seasons: harmony between elements. the sun and the moon. tui and la. fire and water. 

just ugh

7

Very excited to finally complete my latest series, “Avatar Locations” featuring my favorite locations from Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra.

https://society6.com/athenastrange/collection/avatar-locations

https://www.instagram.com/athenastrangeart/